Kung Fu Panda 4 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Kung Fu Panda 4 – Zen of the Familiar

Film is, at its core, a subjective medium.  When journeying into any visual story, what drives the experience is a balance of gripping the audience and favorable appeal.  From comedy to action, we all have something different that drives us to feel that escape.  When it comes to animated films, that imaginative prowess can expand the experience, even within a familiar setting.  In this review, I look at the next chapter of a popular franchise.  Within a colorful world, we find the dragon warrior fighting within familiar concepts.  Even with a thin plot, Kung Fu Panda 4 is still an enjoyable Zen like experience.

In this latest adventure, Po (voiced: Jack Black) has reached the pinnacle of his training.  With new challenges ahead, he must decide what is best for the Dragon Warrior.  In this popular franchise, we have watched Po rise from humble beginnings, reaching many heights in his journey as the Dragon Warrior.  With this latest chapter, Po is faced with his greatest challenge: finding his successor (plot point).  Through general conversations and interactions with Master Shifu (voiced: Dustin Hoffman), this next step in his kung fu journey brings about conflict.  Po believes that being the Dragon Warrior is his sole purpose in life.  As this personal conflict builds, it becomes engrained within the visual moniker of the world.  Through comical hijinks and amazing fight sequences, we witness Po in action, bringing out a parallel to a rising new enemy in the Chameleon (voiced: Viola Davis) and unlikely alliance with a thief, Zhen (Voiced: Awkwafina).  As Po leaves to face this new threat, his journey will lead through scenes of continued physical gags, one-liners, expositional conversations (with Zhen), and a thematic appeal of purpose and change.  Within the predictable setup of the hero’s journey, what drives you to enjoyment is the lively appeal of character designs, world-building, and the personal struggle that evolves with Po and Zhen.

With Po on a quest to stop The Chameleon, the dynamic of his unlikely alliance brings about a foreshadowed worth.  The contrast of honor and thievery brings about a wholesome layer that creates divergence within personal paths and choice.  Po’s own heartiness helps elevate a generic script, propelling authentic growth in him and Zhen.  When the foreshadowing elements come to the forefront, we head into a third act of generalized storytelling, amazing visual quips, and creative fight sequences.  When the hero’s journey comes full circle, we witness a full circle climax and a wholesome epilogue.  Kung Fu Panda 4 is a whimsical journey through the familiar.  If you are a fan of the IP, animated or family tales, this is one for you.  This is fun for adults and kids, at the right price.

Full Score – 3 out of 5 (Theater Discount)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *